Helmed by kiteboarding pioneers Trip Forman and Matt Nuzzo and lauded by Men’s Journal as one of the best sports camps in America, Real Watersports' guides train and outfit extreme water recreationists of all skill levels. Wrangle waves during two-hour lessons in surfing, standup paddleboarding, or kiteboarding, a chimerical extreme water sport that combines a small board with a large, controllable kite to propel riders over the waves and into the air. No matter which method of propulsion you use, Real’s expert guides will teach you how to ride, chop through, or fly over the waves in private terrain set aside for Real by an exclusive permit from the National Parks Service, freeing athletes from the glare of beachcombers or the cat calls of foul-mouthed pelicans.
Glassy waters serve as a tranquil training ground for first-time paddlers, who develop graceful strokes and effective directional paddling during lessons before charting their own marine pathways through the Outer Banks. Lessons start with an overview of terminology and paddleboard anatomy. After successfully locating the epoxy heart and carbon fiber arteries of the board, students take to the beach for practice and an overview of safety protocols, such as what to do if your arm grazes a patch of icky seaweed. Once the 1.5-hour lesson has ended and students feel confident in their abilities, they may paddle their epoxy flotillas through aquatic pastures lined with lush trees for two additional hours. As the shop is located on a calm bay, paddlers need not fret about circumnavigating the ocean’s frothy swells or encountering joust-happy swordfish.
Family-owned and operated since 1975, Whalebone Urban Surf Shop pays homage to sand and sun with swimsuits, sandals, and casual daywear from brands such as Billabong, Roxy, RCVA, Hurley, and Volcom. Glittering waves wet Quiksilver board shorts ($59.50) or L Space and Leilani mix-and-match bikinis, available in a rainbow of colors. In addition to beachwear, Whalebone Urban Surf buttons up Quiksilver Girl captain flannel tops ($49.50) that can be paired with Element Magic Sleeve jeans ($69.50). The summery white of O’Neill's frock ($39.50) complements Reef sandals such as the women's Ugandal 2 with thongs decorated in Ugandan paper beads ($42) to fit days that span from shore to sea-turtle-centennial celebration.